Aaron Gillum's views of society, tempered with a quick wit and an acerbic writing style,
make his columns both fun, and unique. With each issue, Aaron offers a fresh perspective into
the catalysts that drive society; weaving these observations into refreshing, provocative
"We drive into the future using only our rearview mirror."
Having celebrated a birthday last month, I've begun to question my life and myself with a bit
more scrutiny than ever before. I've often read about "milestone birthdays" filled with
mid-life crisis sports cars and facelift reflections on mortality.
I never would have expected it, but I've had a bit of that thinking myself. I'm not
struggling to understand my eventual death, as you might first expect. Rather, it's
my present-day life that concerns me.
You see, I never expected to make it here...to 30 years of age. I thought it much
more probable that I'd find an irresponsible way of doing myself in long before this
day. I tried — believe me. Between crashing cars and flipping motorcycles, it's
a wonder I didn't realize my own self-fulfilling prophecy.
No, I didn't flatter myself by romanticizing James Dean fantasies of living fast,
dying young, and leaving a beautiful corpse. But I can count many times when I
wasn't sure I'd still be alive in the next second. A few times, I've actually taken
a split second (often in mid-air) to come to grips with the fact that "I'm not going
to be getting out of it this time." I wasn't chasing a death wish, but I had figured
it was even money on random chance (or my own stupidity) taking me out long before I
ever had to deal with "The Big Three-Oh." As I look back, I find I have to face some
And in some strange way, I was glad... but why?
Without any thought toward "The Future," you're completely free to simply enjoy the
moment. You needn't worry about planning for your retirement. Nor must you concern
yourself with trivial matters like health insurance, credit rating, grades, the stock
market, or even the effects of that last cigarette. In fact, without a future, your
mind is not taxed with considering consequences at all.
In other words, you never have to grow up. Adulthood begins; after all, at whatever
age you begin planning your life beyond the next month.
Now that I've made it this far in life, I pause to take a good look around me… It
seems as if much of my generation has acted the same way as I. What most called
Gen-X apathy and laziness should more accurately have been described as fatalism.
I see it in my friends and peers every day. It's not that we don't care about
ourselves… about the world around us. But we are far too aware of our own
insignificance to even pretend we have any control of the big picture. We are;
after all, mostly hollow with a few sub-atomic particles thrown into the soup
for good measure. We live in a solar system that is mostly empty space, within
a galaxy that is mostly empty space, within a universe that is almost a complete
void if viewed on a large enough scale. Does that make it hard to worry about
whether or not your tie is straight, or is it just me?
I actually try not to think about it. But it seems I cannot help it… no matter
how hard I try. I'm on a big ball of mud that spins at over 1,000 mph, all the
while racing around an out of control nuclear explosion at 66,000 mph. No matter
what I could ever do... Win the Nobel Prize, cure cancer, or even push the button
that starts WWIII, I cannot change the fact that eventually that fireball in the
sky will wink out and everything we know and have created will no longer exist.
Empires will have risen and fallen, fortunes will have been won and lost. But
in the end it all returns to chaos. Take comfort, my fellow Nihilists, in the
fact that you couldn't possibly ever truly "break" anything that is already
plunging headlong toward such an unwavering fate.
The challenge then that each of us face, is to carve out some sort of meaningful
micro-life from this gigantic mess of insignificance. We have to find our own
reasons to get up in the morning, and no reason is more correct than any other.
Be it God, country, money, family or any other motivation you might choose, as
long as you are conscious about what makes you tick, you've already done the hard
part. It's unfortunate that so many people merely exist when they could be living
instead. They run through the motions of today only because yesterday's momentum
pushes them forward.
I believe I've found my own personal catalyst… I want to watch the leaves fall
as the weather continues to crispen. I need to see the first strands of green
contrasted against the snow as winter turns to spring. I need to travel. I need
to meet new people and have interesting conversations with them. I need to jump
out of a plane. I need to stand at the edge of the Grand Canyon. Put simply, I
need to experience.
The meaning of life, as I see it, is to appreciate these things. There's no
need to tack on egotistical importance at all.
Perhaps there is a grand plan with a specific role I'm supposed to act out, or
maybe this entire universe is a random accident that formed a playground solely
for my amusement. There appears to be exactly the same amount of evidence
supporting both so until the scales tip one way or the other, I'm going with
But enough about me... You've all listened to me wax philosophical long enough.
Let's turn this around for a change. Let's talk about what makes you get out
of bed right *here*.
Copyright © October 2003 Aaron Gillum and Low Carb Luxury